I was going to start with a story about losing my cool with my kids, but I’m having a hard time coming up with something. And that’s not because I’ve never lost my cool with my kids. It’s because lately, I do it more often than I care to admit and the incidents run together.
Resorting to a raised voice has become my go-to parenting method to get things done. I use it when we’re late and trying to get out the door. I use it when my kids don’t clean up after they cook or create. And I use it when they’re not on top of their chores and I’m exasperated. Sure, I could make excuses for my mom mistakes, but I’d rather make real change. From the bottom of my heart, I don’t want to be that mom. Maybe you’re right here with me. Let’s change together. Here are 3 steps that are proven to lead to change.
Our kids know when we’ve blown it. We can’t just move on and pretend our poor response didn’t happen. Our children need to see honesty and integrity in our relationship. That means apologizing when we’ve messed up.
Blame and shame are never part of an apology. Instead, we need to own our behavior and ask for forgiveness. A sincere apology chisels out our pride, makes amends for hurts we’ve caused, communicates how much we love our children, and restores our relationships.
2. Root out the trigger.
Unless we identify the trigger that’s setting off our angry responses, we’ll be caught in a vicious cycle of our instruction, our child’s disobedience, our angry response, our apology, wash, rinse, and repeat. We need ruthlessly to deal with the triggers that lead to our mom mistakes.
Triggers can include certain misbehavior, physical issues like weariness or hunger, or even a pattern we learned in childhood. When we identify the triggers, we can eliminate them or exchange them for healthy responses. This book by two moms addresses 31 triggers and how to exchange them for a gentle, Biblical response.
3. Ask for outside accountability.
As a single mom, I parent solo 24/7, juggling the decisions and discipline, the schooling and household, while playing good cop and bad. Not having the accountability of a spouse is one reason I’ve let anger become a parenting go-to.
We all need someone we trust to hold us accountable for our mom mistakes. Accountability strengthens our resolve to make real change. An accountability partner—whether a friend or spouse—can pray for us, encourage us, and speak truth and life to us.
If any of this resonated with you, what is one step you want to take today?